Coogee – NSW 2019

LIB 2.9%

Incumbent MP
Bruce Notley-Smith, since 2011.

Eastern suburbs of Sydney. Coogee includes parts of Waverley and Randwick local government areas, including the suburbs of Randwick, Coogee, Clovelly, Bronte, Waverley, Tamarama and Bondi Junction.

The electoral district of Coogee was first created in 1927, following the abolition of proportional representation in New South Wales. Back in 1927, there were a much larger number of districts covering the eastern suburbs of Sydney, Coogee sitting alongside Botany, Randwick, Waverley, Bondi, Vaucluse and Woollahra.

As the number of seats has declined and Coogee has expanded in size, the seat has become stronger for the ALP and less so for the Liberal Party, and the ALP held Coogee continuously from 1974 to 2011.

The first member for Coogee, Hyman Goldstein, was a Nationalist MP who had previously served as a member for the proportionally-elected Eastern Suburbs district from 1922 to 1925. He was found dead in 1928 at the bottom of the Coogee cliffs in mysterious circumstances. It has been rumoured that his death was caused by the federal Member for Barton, Thomas Ley, who was suspected in the murder of his Labor opponent in the 1925 election, and was later convicted of murder after moving to London.

The Nationalists and the United Australia Party held Coogee until the 1941 election, when they lost to the ALP’s Lou Cunningham. He had previously served as the federal Member for Gwydir from 1919 to 1925 and again from 1929 to 1931. He held Coogee until his death in 1948.

The Liberal Party’s Kevin Ellis defeated Cunningham’s widow at the 1948 by-election. Ellis lost to the ALP’s Lou Walsh in 1953, and the two engaged in numerous election battle over the next decade. Walsh lost to Ellis in 1956, winning the seat back in 1962 for one final term. Ellis held the seat from 1965 until his retirement in 1973.

At the 1973 election, the Liberal Party’s Ross Freeman won by only eight votes. The Court of Disputed Returns overturned the result in 1974, and the by-election was won by former rugby player Michael Cleary of the ALP by 54 votes.

Cleary served as a minister in the Labor state government from 1981 to 1988, and retired at the 1991 election.

Coogee was won in 1991 by the ALP’s Ernie Page, who had been Member for Waverley since 1991, and moved to Coogee after Waverley was abolished. Page served as Minister for Local Government for the first term of the Carr Labor government from 1995 to 1999, and retired at the 2003 election.

Page was succeeded in 2003 by the ALP’s Paul Pearce, Mayor of Waverley. He was re-elected in 2007.

In 2011, Pearce lost Coogee to Liberal candidate Bruce Notley-Smith with a 15.5% swing. Notley-Smith was re-elected in 2015.


Coogee is a very marginal seat, and could well be in play in 2019.

2015 result

Bruce Notley-Smith Liberal 21,56446.6-1.1
Paul Pearce Labor 15,07332.5+6.8
Lindsay Shurey Greens 8,60918.6-2.8
Victoria Gervay-RubenNo Land Tax6121.3+1.3
Linda DinkhaChristian Democrats4641.0-0.4

2015 two-party-preferred result

Bruce Notley-Smith Liberal 22,51752.9-5.4
Paul Pearce Labor 20,03147.1+5.4

Booth breakdown

Booths in Coogee have been split into three parts based on key suburbs: Clovelly-Coogee, Randwick and Waverley.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 50.6% in the south-west to 54.6% in the north.

The Greens primary vote ranged from 17.6% in the south-west to 20.8% in the north.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes19.956.010,94423.6

Election results in Coogee at the 2015 NSW state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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  1. Exhaustion rate in Coogee has actually been stable (bar 2011), about 55% will end up with the ALP the balance will end up Liberal or exhausted. The 2015 actually mirrored the 2007 result in that regard but the libs were a bit light on the green references compared with prior elections. But the Green vote has been falling here (it was 21.2% in 2007, 22% in 2011 and 18.6% in 2015)…and I realise it’s heresy to suggest that the green vote may fall on this site….so I’ll now hide…eat Qourn mince for a month as penance and pretend I enjoy it.

    I remember the former ALP candidate stating at the last election that Coogee grinds liberal at 0.5% per annum due to gentrification so I expect this to go with the government….who ever that is. But the ALP will have to do it’s own heavy lifting here as Bruce is well liked.

  2. Liberal hold, I don’t see Daley winning the state election I just don’t think his style would swing many votes from Lib to ALP as Leader (Liberal Hold) Labors chances of winning the election without this seat is close to 0% Other than Foley having the scandal i think he would do/done better

  3. Sandbelter 55 % only fr gr to alp is bad…. 80% plus is the norm when preferences are compulsory…… why would the greens want a lib mp.

    I don’t think it is a given that the libs will hold…… if the .5% demographic change is happening then 2% also Paul Pearce is not contesting so the alp will find this more difficult. But there will be a swing to Labor as part of the expected swing also half this seat falls in Wentworth and is similar politically to the lower part of Wentworth….; close contest

  4. Number of key factors for this seat:
    *Bruce Notley-Smith still quite popular so there will be a personal vote built up here.
    *No Paul Pearce running so Bruce has a chance of a Sophomore Surge, albiet a very small one
    *Continual Gentrification in this seat, as mentioned before.
    *Swing against the Coalition in this seat.

    The seat swung back by 5.4% in the last election, which was a correction due to the landslide in 2011. I think the Coalition holds on but the margin will be razor-thin, probably around the 1%. This seat will become a genuine swing seat.

  5. Lived in this electorate from 2008-2017

    Bruce has been the member since 2011, so I think he had his sophomore surge in in 2015? . He only lost 1% of his vote which isn’t a bad result, and he is well liked.

    I think Labours chances will improve by not running Paul Pearce this time around – it’s a youngish electorate, and it needs a fresh face. People seem to forget but there’s a hellovalot of of rentals here in (Esp: Coogee/Tama/Bondi). A half-decent Labour campaign should see them GAIN here.

    Also – With the exception of some of the area around Sth Coogee (public housing/Sth Coogee Public School) I don’t think this area can get much more gentrified than it is.

  6. @JamesM, it was a 5.4% swing back to Labor in 2015 on TPP basis. What we did see from the handful of seats where the sitting member pre-2011 re-contested (Monaro comes to mind off the top of my head) was that they didn’t allow for the sophomore surge, as they still held on to some of the personal vote. Monaro and Coogee could end up becoming quite interesting studies to see if a prior member running after losing an election can have an effect in denying a sophomore surge.

  7. Sportsbet, Now has Liberal’s ahead as of early this afternoon. Going to be close, Whoever win’s will win the state election

  8. I can’t see how the Libs get a third term in Coogee. I agree though it’ll be close, but I think Labor will just win this seat back.

  9. As David Walsh’s comment reminds me, the north of this electorate is in the federal Division of Wentworth. East Hills and Coogee seem to be by far the most likely Labor gains… Labor faces a rough uphill battle just about everywhere else.

  10. Nicholas agree with you re Coogee……… but look at the pendulum and the electoral history of seats from 1995 onwards and you will see Labor has many chances………. besides the two you mention…….. also look at the 2016 federal votes transposed to these boundaries……. I can see the bulk of the seats up to and including Bathurst as possible Alp wins…… Monaro. Bega, Lismore, Upper Hunter, Riverstone, Parramatta, Seven Hills, Penrith, Mulgoa, Parramatta, Ryde Tweed Goulburn Holsworthy etc

  11. Already seeing O’Neill signs up around Coogee beach and some labor volunteers in their O’Neill shirts at a cafe last week, so clearly labor are going hard here. Think Turnbull’s outing and the Light Rail debacle will cut deep here

    ALP gain

  12. Having spent a lot of time on the ground in Coogee, Labor appears confident and the Liberals are almost treating it as a lost cause at this point. Volunteers everywhere for Labor, see them nearly every day right across the area. Libs only out on Weekends or at pre-poll, very poor for a Lib held marginal. Should be one of the first to fall on the night.

  13. Likely Labor gain – can’t see Notley-Smith surviving with a low margin, this area is full of wet Liberals (the sort who’d vote Turnbull), and has a strong Green vote.


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